Coast strongmen

Graham Morton, 53, was the oldest competitor in the Sunshine Coast strongman competition. Photo: Brett Wortman/184449
Graham Morton, 53, was the oldest competitor in the Sunshine Coast strongman competition. Photo: Brett Wortman/184449
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One minute, Richard Carey was resting his three-year-old daughter, Mae, on his hip as her golden ringlets bounced around her face.

The next, he was strapped to a rope with his tattooed muscles bulging as he pulled a 10-tonne truck with all his might.

It was a mixed picture of what a stereotypical Sunshine Coast strongman might look like.

Photos: Sunshine Coast strong men in action

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Video: Strongman lifts members of a Korean talkshow

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The Peregian landscaper and father-of-two was a wildcard in the Strongman Competition at Coolum’s new Phoenix Muscle and Fitness centre on Saturday.

He went along for a mere challenge and ended up being the fastest heavyweight to pull the truck, with a time of 21.66 seconds.

Toddler Mae acted as cheerleader for her dad, chanting, “Go Rich, go Rich”, from the sidelines.

“I don’t even go to the gym – I just thought it would be fun and a way to challenge myself,” Richard said.

“Plus, my wife said I wouldn’t do it so I had to come along.”

Richard’s curiosity was a symbol of the fast-growing interest in the strongman competitions.

The event doubled as an open day for the new fitness centre, with organisers putting memberships, personal training sessions and cash prizes up for grabs.

Competitors, some as young as 17 and some in their 50s, tested their strength in each division by completing a series of gruelling tasks – including truck pulling, atlas stone lifting and the weight-heavy “farmer’s walk”.

Strongman competitions are held nationally, and according to Kawana Fitness Centre owner Scott Hipwell, they have recently built a strong following in Australia.

The 30-year-old has won the Queensland and New South Wales Strongman competitions and remained undefeated, securing his place at the world championships in Las Vegas later this year.

Scott said strongman competitors needed a solid power-to-weight strength, speed and endurance to progress in the sport.

“I was a professional triathlete and a commander for four years, so this was just something different to challenge the body,” he said.

“It’s huge in the US but the sport is just taking off in Australia.”

Strongman lifts members of a Korean talkshow audience

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